"The Death of An Amazon"

Disclaimer: "Xena: Warrior Princess" and its characters based in the series are copyrighted to Studios USA and Renaissance Pictures. This is for entertainment only and cannot be sold. I retain the copyright to the story plot only. Please do not upload this story or link to it without the written permission of the author. This story cannot be sold for profit.

Rating: PG for violence.

Subtext: Nadda. It really all depends on how much you read into it.

Violence: Nothing more than what is in the show itself, maybe a little harsher. Okay, so a few people get killed — one person important and another one not so important. Kleenex definitely needed for the end of this story. Sniff, sniff.

Synopsis: Gabrielle must face a difficult decision and Xena must do what is right, even if it means going against Gabrielle's ideals.

Author's Note: This story was written prior to my knowledge of a certain Amazon biting the big one. I've altered my version of the original story to some what coincides with the episode, "Endgame." It mirrors the episode in some respect (in some cases down to the scene and wording), but most of it is original content. I did have Brutus killing Ephiny originally, only because he was about to kill certain downed Warrior Princess. In this story, it happens like it did in the episode, only the set up is slightly different. The ending will be the same as it was in the episode.

Date of Re-Write: June 4, 1999 (Original date was in March 1999)

Author: Jen

Website: Xena Web

Part One

"My Queen, the Renegades are approaching from the south and east," an Amazon said. "There's at least sixty of them."

"More than we expected," Solari said.

Ephiny peered around a tree. "How are they armed?"

"They are well armed my Queen," the Amazon said. "What do you want us to do?"

"Guard the eastern flanks, we'll take the southern flanks," the Queen said. She sighed, this was worse than what she had hoped it would be.

Ephiny and her scouting party moved to the south.

"My Queen, the reinforcements have arrived," Eponin said. "About thirty."

"Good. It's worse than we thought. Take half and go with Chilapa. The rest will come with me take care of the southern flanks. Eponin, send a messenger out. Gabrielle and Xena can't be to far from the village and they'll be walking right into the battle." She could use Xena's expertise and skill.

"Yes my Queen," Eponin said. She completed her assigned task.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Pompey, just as you suspected, the Amazons are engaging in a battle the renegades," a soldier said.

"Good. The Amazons will fetch a fine price in the desert regions. I'll be able to rebuild my army and finally take Rome. Get the men ready."

"Yes, sir!"

"Let's hope we don't have any distractions this time."

The last time he was going to face-off against Caesar, he lost most of his army as did Caesar. Xena's well though out plan kept him from taking control of his army and defeating Caesar. He wanted payback. He could have had Caesar and Rome would have been his. He knew how to get money to pay his mercenaries and buy more weapons for his Army.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"I could get use to this," Gabrielle mused. She rode atop of Argo with her right ankle on the saddle horn.

"Get use to it?! You hate riding. Besides, it's more out of necessity. Had you been watching where you walking, you would have seen that tree root and wouldn't have twisted your ankle," the dark-haired warrior sternly warned. Her young companion often wrote on her scrolls while she was walking along and talked at the same time. This time however, she got a little carried away and paid for it with a sprained ankle.

"You are waiting for the right moment to tell me I shouldn't write and talk at the same time aren't you, Xena?" The blonde woman was not amused by her friend's sense of humor in this time of injury.

"Don't have too now, you said it for me Gabrielle," Xena said. She smiled at her friend.

"If you are tying to be funny, it's not working," Gabrielle joked.

"When we get to the Amazon village you can get your ankle better elevated," Xena said. She heard the sound of something in the trees. She stopped Argo and unsheathed her sword.

"What is it?" Gabrielle asked. She looked around. She didn't see anything or hear anything for that matter. Xena was more accomplished in this area.

Suddenly, a figure dropped from the trees and landed directly in front of Xena. She held her sword out at Xena. The woman dropped the sword. And bowed to Gabrielle. Xena sheathed her sword.

"Arise," Gabrielle ordered.

"My Queen," the person said. "My name is Amarice. I come from the village of your tribe. You must come back with me quickly. We are engaging in a battle with some Renegade Amazons directly north of here. My instructions are to take you around the battle."

"Battle? Renegade Amazons?" Gabrielle asked. She looked at Xena.

"So much for keeping that ankle elevated," Xena said. "We'll get there faster if we ride." Gabrielle moved back while Xena climbed up in front of her.

Amarice jumped onto her horse and led the way.

"Renegade Amazons?" Gabrielle asked. She heard Ephiny talk of them, but she had thought they were no longer around.

"When the Amazon Nation split up, some of the tribes went renegade. They attacked villages killing most of the men. Taking the young girls as their adopted children, selling those that lived in the attack into slavery. They aren't ones to be trifled with. They most definitely hate Centaurs and most definitely hate the Amazons we know. It was only a matter of time before these renegades hit this area. But most of them are either dead, in exile or converted into the other tribes."

"They must not be all that extinct, if they can carry on an attack of this magnitude," Gabrielle said. This event troubled her. She couldn't figure out why they would attack this area.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Solari and her scouting troop reached the edge of the forest. She saw something she wasn't expecting: Roman soldiers. "Be careful!"

The Roman soldiers were battling the Renegade Amazons.

"Amazons Attack!" Solari yelled.

Her scouting party merged themselves alongside their enemies to a battle with their true enemy, the Romans. It was over in a matter of moments. Solari was laid to the ground, as was the rest of her party and the Renegade Amazons.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"By the Gods," Gabrielle said. She was in shock at the amount of the dead laying on the ground. The ground was covered thick. You couldn't see the grass beneath them.

The battle field was foggy. Distant clanging of metal swords could be heard in the distance. It reeked of an awful smell. You couldn't tell if it was night or day.

"The smell of death," Gabrielle said. She hated that smell. The smell alone made her nauseous. The battle had obviously ended a few days previous to their arrival.

Xena climbed off Argo. Amarice wasn't too far behind.

"We're too late," Amarice said. She stood beside Xena.

Xena scanned the area. She stepped on a sword. She kneeled down to pick it up. "This wasn't the work of Amazons. It was the Romans."

"Romans? Here?" Amarice said.

"It's Caesar's crest too," Xena said. She handed the sword to Gabrielle. "We better get out of here." Xena didn't want to spend to long in this area.

A moaning sound came from directly in front them.

Xena walked toward the moaning. She approached the fallen Amazon warrior with caution. "Solari?"

"What's wrong?" Gabrielle asked.

Amarice looked to Xena. Xena looked to Gabrielle. "We better get out of here and quick," Xena said. She remounted Argo. Amarice followed behind. The threesome headed toward the Amazon village. Xena remained quiet about Solari. There was nothing that could be done to save her.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"My Queen, there are several Roman troops heading this way," Chilapa said.

"The Warrior Princess is approaching," an Amazon Royal Guard yelled out.

"Thank the gods," Ephiny said. Ephiny greeted her friends. She wished it were under better circumstances.

"Ephiny, what is going on?" Gabrielle asked.

"The situation is going from bad to worse with every breath. We have Renegade battles to our south and east, and Romans heading in from the west and north," Ephiny said. "We have Romans just outside our boundaries now."

"Both Caesar and Pompey are going to fight again," Xena said. "And use this territory as their battle ground."

"We could use your help Xena," Ephiny said.

"And you have to ask?" Xena said. "I'm more than willing."

"I'm afraid I won't be much of use," Gabrielle said. She spied her injured ankle.

"Stay behind, help with wounded." Xena said. She climbed off of Argo and helped Gabrielle down.

"How much longer before they arrive?" Xena asked.

"Our scouts have them advancing at double time. They want this to be short and quick," Ephiny said.

Several Amazon warriors came running into the village. "The Romans have attacked. They've taken several of our sisters hostage, and they've killed many more."

"The unlikeliness of allies made in times of dire need, fitting," sighed Xena.

"You should be tried as traitors to our Nation. But we need all the help we can get," Ephiny said.

"Are you sure we can trust them my Queen?" Amarice asked.

"We have too," Ephiny said. "Xena?"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"When do you want us to commence our attack, Pompey?" Carminus asked.

"Commence your attack now," Pompey ordered. He stayed behind his troops. He liked this position. He was already smelling the dinars he was going to get from the Amazons. And should he be able to capture Brutus, things would be all set for his quest.

"They are already weakened. This should be easy."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

One of the scouts staked out on the river path came running into the compound, "The Romans, they are here."

Ephiny and Xena looked at each other.

Several dozen Roman soldiers entered the village.

"Amazons attack!" Ephiny shouted.

The battle was on. Xena and the others took the battle outside of the village compound to ensure that the wounded wouldn't be harmed. More importantly, to ensure the safety of Gabrielle, the Queen of the Amazons.

Amarice stood close to Xena. Xena, Ephiny and Amarice fought side by side. Killing their way through line after line of Pompey's men.

Meanwhile, Pompey had suspected that the Amazon's might take the battle outside of the village. He had a detachment of troops waiting to enter the village after the bulk of the Amazon warriors had left to pursue the battle with his army.

Carminus ordered his troops to pull back and join the raiding party that was attacking the Amazon village.

Xena noticed what was going on. She couldn't figure it out. This was too easy. He wanted this to happen. "Something's not right," Xena said. She turned to look at the village. There was fire when there shouldn't have been. "He's attacking the village." Xena bent down to look at the seal of the dead Roman soldier.

"The village, it's under attack!" yelled an Amazon. The warrior was badly wounded.

"I'm going back," Xena said.

"Xena it's too dangerous!" Ephiny shouted. "Go with her," Ephiny ordered Amarice.

"Pull back, reform!" A Roman commander ordered. He and his men retreated to reform their lines and attack again.

Ephiny ordered her warriors to head back to the village.

It was chaos. Pompey's main attack force hadn't arrived yet, but his army was doing as much damaged as they could in a short period of time. They were taking Amazons by the droves. Taking more than killing them. Pompey needed as many as he could get his hands on.

Xena fought her way back to the village, and it was under full attack. She searched for Gabrielle. Gabrielle managed to get several of the wounded to a nearby cave. And she went back to retrieve more of the wounded.

Gabrielle entered the village to retrieve more wounded. Xena spotted her.

"What is going on?" Gabrielle asked.

"Both Caesar and Pompey just declared war."

"Xena, the Romans . . . they've reformed and are attacking again," Amarice said. She was ready to go back and fight.

By this time, the burning huts, the burning trees, the burning of human flesh was filling the air. It was making it almost impossible to see anything, much less breath. This was a battle field in the truest sense of the word. Gabrielle had experienced something like this before, but nothing of this magnitude. Xena has, and she was used to it. Xena blocked it out of her mind the best she could. She had to focus if they wanted any chance of surviving this.

"You are staying with me," Xena said.

"I can't . . . " Gabrielle pleaded. She was injured. Her sprained ankle made her an easy target. She knew that if Xena was worried about her, she couldn't fight. "You can't fight if you are worried about me," pleaded Gabrielle.

"I want you where I can keep an eye on you," Xena said. "Come on!" Xena knew Gabrielle was right. But she couldn't risk leaving Gabrielle here, even though the Amazons would protect her. When Gabrielle was the Queen, Xena was her lieutenant. Xena's first priority was to protect the Queen.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ephiny was engaged in a heated sword exchange with the Roman commander Brutus. She didn't know his name, nor did he know hers. All he knew was this was the best warrior he's had the privilege fighting and for that he had no shame. He was able to knock her sword from her hands. They locked eyes. The training took over, and Brutus raised his sword and impaled Ephiny. They looked at each other one final time. He dropped back.

"No!" Gabrielle screamed.

Xena grabbed a hold of Gabrielle. Xena's strength was no match for Gabrielle. "It's no use." Xena struggled to keep a tight hold onto Gabrielle.

"Let go of me," Gabrielle screamed. She threw her left arm back and jabbed it directly into her friend's stomach. Xena was caught off guard and let go of her friend.

"Pull back, reform," Brutus ordered his men. He fled into the smoke-filled battle field. He had just killed a woman. A warrior, but still a woman. What type of man kills a woman?

Xena didn't make an attempt to follow him or the rest of the Romans. She was more concerned with Gabrielle now. She knew she could deal with Brutus later. And that was her plan.

Gabrielle reached Ephiny. She kneeled besides her fallen friend. She cradled her in her arms. Gabrielle knew there was nothing that could be done. But still she wanted to try.

"Gabri . . . ," Ephiny sputtered. She was dead. She continued to look into Gabrielle's eyes.

"Xena?!" Gabrielle called out for her friend.

Xena moved in from behind Gabrielle. "Come on." Xena helped Gabrielle up.

"You have to help her," Gabrielle pleaded.

Several Amazons approached their fallen Queen. The Amazons carried their Queen back to the village and to prepare her body for the funeral.

The Amazons managed to hold back Pompey's army, but not before many of them were either killed or captured. When Xena and Gabrielle arrived back at the village, it was worse than when they had left it. It was now up to Gabrielle.

"Hail to our new Queen!" an Amazon shouted.

Gabrielle looked at Xena. Gabrielle couldn't believe what was going on. She was now the Queen. She wanted exact revenge on the Romans. But it wasn't her path. She had a tough decision to make. And she wasn't the only one with a decision to make.

"We fought them off, but I'm afraid many more of our sisters were captured," Chilapa said. She looked to her Queen for new orders.

Gabrielle eyed Xena.

It wasn't before to long before Xena spoke up. She gave her orders to rebuild the huts for shelter and get the wounded into hiding. Pompey might return to take more slaves.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Sir, we were fought back to the river," a soldier said.

Pompey moved around his tent with ease. He was confident of victory. "How many?"

"Around fifty," the soldier said.

"Good, they'll fetch at least five-hundred dinars each," Pompey gleefully said. He was playing with a knife. "We'll move them out tomorrow."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Xena, this doesn't make any sense," Gabrielle whined. She stood besides Ephiny's body. "Why would Caesar attack the Amazons?"

"It's not Caesar. It's Pompey. He's trying to rebuild his army and he's going to use our friends to do it," Xena said. She stood behind Gabrielle. "I want to go after Brutus. He can lead me to Pompey."

"Do what you have to do," Gabrielle ordered. She had to deal with Ephiny's funeral now. A task she thought she'd never have to undertake. She had a decision to make. She had to assume her role as Queen of the Amazons.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"The rest of you need to stay here in case Pompey decides to attack again," Xena ordered. The Amazons were eager to go after the Roman that killed their Queen. They wanted justice. "Amarice, you are coming too."

Xena and three other Amazons rode off to find Brutus. He was their key to finding the whereabouts of Pompey and his army.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Keep the line tight," Brutus commanded. He was leading a squadron back to camp.

An arrow whizzed past him. "Find them!" He took a crossbow from one his soldiers as he ran by. When he looked up, he saw her. "Xena!"

"Hello Brutus," Xena calmly said. She took out her whip and hurled it at Brutus' feet, causing him to fall to the ground. Xena then dragged him through the country side and back to the Amazon village. "This one is for you Ephiny!"

When Xena arrived, Amarice was no where to be found.

"Where's Amarice?" Gabrielle asked.

"She's mad because I wouldn't let her kill him," Xena said. She dismounted Argo and pulled Brutus to his feet. "Get up!"

"Gabrielle," Brutus said. He considered her a friend, even though their friends were sworn enemies. "They told me you were the Queen."

"No thanks to you. You killed my . . . our friend Ephiny," a determined Gabrielle said. Her voice reeked of displeasure. Xena's method of capture was sometimes appalling, and this was one of those times. Xena had to do what she had to do, no matter what the pain or the consequences maybe.

"Where is Pompey?" Xena asked.

"So that's why I'm here," Brutus said.

"No, that's why you alive," Xena smirked.

"Then I still have some power. I would like some water first," Brutus commanded.

"Get it," Xena ordered. She turned and grinned at Brutus.

Just as he was about to take a drink of water, Xena stopped an arrow from hitting Brutus. She looked back and took her whipped and pulled the would be assassin down from a tree. Amarice fell to the ground. Several Amazons grabbed and dragged her to Gabrielle.

"What do you think you are doing?" Gabrielle asked.

"Amazon justice," Amarice said. "In my . . . "

"This is my tribe. You need to think about that," Gabrielle said. "Take her away."

Xena turned to face Brutus, "No one would have cried if she had succeeded."

"Of course, I'm still useful to you."

"Oh yeah, about that . . . ," Xena said. She did her pinch on him. "I don't need to tell you, so just get on with it."

Brutus didn't say anything.

"Come on Brutus. Pompey is no friend of Caesar's. Anything I do to him could only make Caesar happy!" Xena continued to hold onto him.

"He's west of the river, just beyond the cliffs," Brutus said. He started to choke. The effects of the pinch were taking their toll on him. He was filling his life drain away.

Xena started to walk away. She didn't release him. Xena was going to let him die without a second thought. She was being casual about it.

"Xena!" Gabrielle shouted.

"No Xena," Chilapa said. "Let there be Amazon justice. Amazon law . . . "

"Amazon law says Brutus' punishment is my decision," Gabrielle ordered. "Xena, please . . ."

Xena looked to Chilapa, then looked back at Gabrielle. "Get out of my way Chilapa." She pushed Chilapa aside and released Brutus from the nerve pinch.

"Take him away," Gabrielle ordered. She looked at Xena with displeasure.

Xena walked away. Gabrielle followed in disgust at what just happened.

"You weren't going to release him were you?" Gabrielle asked.

"I'm not going to argue with you on this. You said ‘do what you have to do.' I'm doing exactly that," Xena said. She looked at Gabrielle. She sensed the displeasure in Gabrielle about her actions. But what else could be done. What else could she have done. Brutus deserved to die. Gabrielle had to know that. It wasn't Gabrielle to order someone's execution. It would go against everything she believed. Xena knew she should have known better. Xena had to do what she felt was right. If it meant killing Brutus, then so be it.

Gabrielle knew they could use Brutus to their advantage. Brutus was useful to them. Xena knew this, but Gabrielle still couldn't figure out why she would just him die. Gabrielle decided not to read much into it. She couldn't afford. Waging war was Xena's department. Gabrielle wanted to do what is right, let Xena take care of Pompey.

"We'll get our friends back, then go after Pompey," Xena said. She had to do what was right.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Xena organized a small rescue party. It was hard turning down people. So many of them wanted to help, including the Renegades who wanted Roman blood as much as anyone else did. If one thing remained true, it was the loyalty the Amazons displayed. The two tribes may be enemies, but they found a common bond in loyalty. Since Xena was leading them, no one needed to be convinced that this plan would succeed. They all thought of Xena as a true Amazon. Her loyalty was always there.

"Was it you that convinced Gabrielle to pardon me?" Amarice asked. She respected Xena in that she wanted to kill Brutus too. She didn't hold much trust or respect for Gabrielle. Xena crumbled when Gabrielle pleaded to save Brutus. Xena was being loyal. Amarice thought of Gabrielle as being weak minded. She lacked the qualities of being an Amazon. But Amarice was wrong. Gabrielle didn't lack the qualities to be an Amazon. Gabrielle just was being true to herself.

"Does it really matter?" Xena asked.

"And you are just going to let her pardon Brutus, after what he has done?"

"Amarice, Gabrielle's battle isn't with Brutus or Pompey . . . it's . . . ," Xena took Amarice's knife, "this." She was trying to make a point. "I don't agree with how she goes about it sometimes, but I've come to understand it. I go against, regretfully, sometimes. I don't have a choice. And now, neither do you. Would you rather we chain up Gabrielle, take over the village and kill Brutus?"

"Sure," Amarice said. Her age and eagerness to fight showed. She wanted to do what was right. Amazon justice was right.

"Amarice, you are so young. You think answers are easy to find. You think you can find them at the end of a sword. It's not there. The answers lie within yourself. I just hope you can learn that," Xena said.

Amarice thought about the advice and went back to her task of burying weapons. Xena placed her chakram in the dirt.

Xena spotted Carminus bringing the Amazons down the trail. She motioned for Amarice to take her place. Chilapa did a bird call to her alert her sisters of the rescue that was about to take place.

Wise to this, Carminus ordered two of his men to fall back, behind the trees. The two soldiers were jumped by Amarice, but she was quickly caught. It was apart of the plan.

Carminus stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the prize catch of the day, Xena. "Xena!"

"Carminus. Where's Pompey?" a determined Xena said.

"He's just passing through the land." Carminus said. "He needs money."

"You need to tell him to find another way. I won't let him sell my friends as slaves," Xena said.

"Sir, we caught this one behind us," the soldier said. He forced Amarice to the front of the line.

"Are there anymore?" Carminus asked.

Xena paused for a moment.

"Or she dies," Carminus said. He took his knife and held it to Amarice's throat.

"Chilapa . . . Meslena," Xena said. Chilapa and Meslena came out from behind a tree.

"So much for your rescue Xena," Carminus said. He approached Xena. "The pirates can't afford you, but I'm sure Pompey can find a buyer."

"I'll give you one more chance to surrender Carminus," Xena said. She dug her foot into the ground. She placed her chakram over her foot.

"How . . . with what army?" Carminus said. He laughed, as did his troops.

"This one," Xena said. She smacked Carminus out of the way. The other Amazons grabbed weapons from behind the ground and began to battle Pompey's soldiers.

The Amazons quickly grabbed the hidden weapons. The Amazons fought bravely. They had no problem in fighting the soldiers. Xena let Carminus get away.

"He'll warn Pompey," Amarice said.

"I want him to," Xena said. She watched Carminus ride away. "Gather the living and take them back to the village."

"Lucky for them, we have just the Queen for the situation," Amarice said.

Xena gave her a glaring look. "You have your orders. I'm riding ahead."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"You let her get away?" Pompey shouted at Carminus. "You let her take the Amazons? I used to think all her hatred was reserved for Caesar. I'm beginning to wonder."

"She does have a way of getting in the middle of things," Carminus choked. He continued to look straight ahead. He thought he was lucky to get away, but now he's not to sure.

"She's taking money from me! Get the troops ready. We are going back, first light. This time, we leave no one behind," Pompey ordered.

Part Two

Gabrielle continued to mourn Ephiny. She had tasks that needed be completed. She had to prepare herself for not only the funeral of a friend, but for a task she thought she'd never have to undertake again. She was lost in her thoughts. She felt the warmth of the fire, which made things easier in her mind.

"I have another plan," Xena said.

"What?" Gabrielle asked. She continued to stare into the fire. The preceded events were still close in her mind.

"A peace, between Caesar," Xena said.

Gabrielle turned to her friend. "Caesar will never agree, you know that."

"But Brutus doesn't. Brutus thinks Caesar is loyal and true to his word and to his friends. Brutus puts all his loyalty and trust in Caesar. He too is an honorable man," Xena said.

"I don't get it," a confused Gabrielle replied.

"Brutus maybe the chink in Caesar's armor," Xena said.

"Tell me more," Gabrielle replied. She continued to stare back into the fire.

"The Amazon's propose a peace treaty to Rome, respecting the territories of Rome," Xena said.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Gabrielle ordered Brutus to be brought to her hut.

The guards brought in Brutus. "Leave us," Gabrielle commanded. The guards complied and left the hut.

"I propose a peace between Xena and Caesar," Gabrielle calmly said. She looked in Brutus' eyes. Xena was right, he is immensely loyal to Caesar and to Rome. Rome was the key.

"Caesar won't accept it," Brutus commanded. He knew Caesar. "Can you blame him for hating Xena, after what she did to him? Caesar wants what is best for Rome. Peace, prosperity . . . "

"We really know different Caesar's. Xena was trying to stop a war," Gabrielle shot back. She continued to look into his eyes.

"And why do you think there was a war, because of Pompey. Pompey wanted to destroy everything Caesar wants for Rome," emphasized Brutus.

"Then a peace treaty between the Amazons and Rome," Gabrielle stated. She stared directly into his eyes. "We aren't afraid to fight . . . or . . . to die."

Those words went through Brutus like a dagger. He knew now, Gabrielle was not weak. "Accepted, contingent on Caesar's approval and Xena."

"Of course," Gabrielle said.

"You surprise me," Brutus said.


The guards entered the hut and took Brutus away.

"What do you think?" Gabrielle asked.

"He's no Caesar. He just maybe the chink in Caesar's armor," Xena said.

"Xena! Pompey's army is on the move, they'll be here by morning," Amarice said.

Gabrielle turned to look at Xena.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Excuse me, my name is Lysia," the woman said. "I'm the leader . . . "

"I know who are you," Gabrielle said.

"We owe your friend a debt of gratitude," Lysia said. "I would to offer an alliance."

"An alliance?" Gabrielle asked.

"I heard you were a fair and just Queen?" Lysia said with concern. "Did I hear right?"

"We are going to need to all the help we can get," Gabrielle commanded. She hadn't thought about what to do with Renegades yet. Her mind was consumed with Pompey and Brutus and Ephiny's funeral. What would Ephiny do, Gabrielle thought to herself. Gabrielle tried to ignore the question. What would Xena do, she thought again. For the first time, Gabrielle didn't want to deal with a situation. Ephiny's death was harder on her than what she thought.

Unsure of what her answer was or even unsure if Gabrielle even remotely paid attention to her, Lysia left the hut. She walked over to Xena. "I want to thank you." Lysia held out her hand. "You saved us even though we are the enemy."

"Your welcome," Xena remarked. She went into see Gabrielle.

"What was that all about?" Xena asked Gabrielle.

Gabrielle stared into the fire. "Do you think this is where it happens? Or is the cause of it?"

"You mean the vision?" Xena asked. She sat down next Gabrielle.

Gabrielle continued to stare into the fire. "I can't seem to shake it," her voice trembled. Her face was pained. Her emotions were getting the best of her and this was probably what she needed the most.

Xena put her arm around her friend. "You let me worry about that vision, that's my responsibility." She, herself, hadn't really thought a lot about the vision. Perhaps because she knew she couldn't. Whatever the reason, it was clearly on her friend's young mind. Xena pulled her friend close. "It won't happen here, not now."

Gabrielle continued to sob.

Xena continued to hold onto her. She stared in the fire.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Xena, we have scouts following them," Chilapa said. "Do you think he is that foolish enough to march straight in?"

"He's that angry," Xena said. She continued to give orders to build up their defenses. "Amarice, get the prisoners." An Amazon brought a prisoner to her, "tie him up."

"Xena, I brought Brutus . . . what is this?" Gabrielle asked. She saw the prisoners being tied up. "You've tied them to crosses?" Gabrielle questioned this form of tactics. She was used to it, but not now. Not this way. Not to crosses.

"If that is what it'll take to defeat Pompey, then that's what I'll do," Xena commanded. She walked passed Gabrielle.

Gabrielle was in disbelief.

"Xena, you better come quick," Chilapa said.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"I thought Pompey was approaching from the north?" Gabrielle asked.

"It's not . . . ," Xena said. But she was interrupted by Brutus.

"It's Xelifus. He's taken command of the Legion I was to command when we located Pompey's army," Brutus said. "Turn me over to Pompey. Then they'll be reason for him to waste his army here. He can get more for me from the pirates."

"He'll just kill you," Gabrielle said.

"It's a chance I'm willing to take. I don't think you have much of choice." Brutus said. He was willing to lay down his life for his enemy. Not his enemy, but Caesar's.

"That's where you're wrong. I've had choices since we first captured you. No, I think I'd rather give you back to Caesar. Take down the soldiers," Xena said. "Take them to the rear."

"But what about our defenses," Amarice asked.

"If my plan works, we won't need them. Besides, we don't kill just for the sake of it," Xena said. She looked at Gabrielle.

"What do you have in mind?" Gabrielle asked.

"I'll give you Pompey, if your army blasts a line right through to his command," Xena said. She turned to Brutus.

Brutus looked surprised by this. Xena, allying herself with Brutus. He didn't look at as being allies. He knew Xena was doing what was necessary to save the land and get rid of Pompey. He knew it was a risky plan. Should Caesar ever found out that he worked with Xena to get rid of Pompey, it would be his own funeral. "How do you want to go about it?"

"Attack from east," Xena said.

The Amazons prepared for the battle with Pompey.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Commence the attack," Pompey ordered.

His men charged the hill.

"Ready . . . fire . . . ," Xena commanded. She stood atop the hill. Her sword raised.

Pompey's men took their shields and covered themselves from the arrow attack.

"First wave, attack!" Xena shouted.

Dozens of Amazons charged over the hill.

Xena grabbed a hold of Amarice. "I want you to stay here and hold the line. One more thing, protect Gabrielle."

"Are you kidding me?" Amarice asked.

"Do as I say," Xena said.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Brutus. We were told you were captured by the Amazons," Xelifus said.

"I'm taking command Xelifus," Brutus ordered.

"As always," Xelifus said. He saluted his new commander.

"Move the men east. We are going to blast a path right through to Pompey's command, starting with that hill," Brutus said, pointing to a hill directly the north.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"You should go back to the village," Amarice said.

Gabrielle looked at her, " . . . you don't know me very well." Gabrielle continued to look ahead. "Hold the line." She walked behind her troops. "Hold the line. We have to give Xena more time. Hold the line."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Pompey Magnus. Brutus is approaching from the east. We have to disengage with the Amazons," Carminus aid.

Pompey grabbed Carminus, "We will not." He shoved him back. He continued to watch his army.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Gabrielle could no longer see Xena. She could only hope she was almost to Pompey's command. "For Ephiny!"

"For Ephiny!" the Amazons shouted. The rest of the remaining troops charged over the hill and forged themselves into an immense battle.

"For Ephiny!" Gabrielle shouted again. "For Ephiny!"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Yi — Ha!"

"Xena!" Pompey shouted. "To arms!"

Two of his guards raced toward Xena. Their swords drawn, ready for blood.

Xena did a flip off Argo and quickly disposed of the two guards. Carminus raced forward. Xena disposed of him. Pompey then charged for her.

The two military commanders fought to a stand still. Xena managed to disarm Pompey. She was about to kill him. "Wait!" pleaded Pompey. "If you kill me, Caesar gains control. You know it and I know it. That's the balance I give you Xena. It's always been like that. You may hate us both. But with one, you can't control the other. Now, if you let me live . . . Well, we can't destroy the world if we are trying to destroy each other, now can we? Hmm?"

Xena resists the urge to kill Pompey. She backs off and walks away from Pompey. Pompey slowly arises and takes a knife hidden beneath his armor. He slowly approaches Xena. Xena quickly turns around and decapitates him. Her face of disgust, "It's not about balance anymore."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Pompey's army has scattered," Xelifus said. "We are read to move the legion near the hill."

"No. That's Amazon land, we stay out," Brutus said.

"Rider approaching," a soldier shouted.

Brutus turned to see Xena approaching him.

"You plan worked," Brutus said.

"If you want to say alive, you won't mention my name to Caesar. The plan was yours," Xena said. She threw down a sack to his feet. Brutus picked it up.

"Xena, your vision of Caesar is blinded by hatred. He is the only hope to restore democracy to Rome," Brutus diligently said.

"I bet a man like you would do well in his democracy huh Brutus?" Xena asked. "There will come a time Brutus when you'll have to decide that you are either Caesar's man or you own."

"Never. Caesar would never betray a friend," urged Brutus.

"Pompey was a friend. And Crassius. Wasn't Crassius a friend also? I was once a very close friend of his," Xena said. "Remember, this was your doing." Xena turned and rode away.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Brutus returned to Rome with the head of Pompey. He wasn't sure how Caesar would react to not bring back Pompey alive. "I'm afraid I was unable to bring Pompey back alive as you requested." He threw down the sack at Caesar's feet.

"No matter. He's out of Rome's way. Now the future can begin," Caesar said. He picked up the sack and handed it to a guard. Caesar stood before his senate.

"I have a personal message from the Queen of the Amazons. A peace treaty, to Caesar ruler of all Rome," Brutus said. He was certain Caesar would accept it. "The Queen of the Amazons promises to respect the territories of . . . " Brutus' speech was cut short by an unspeakable act. Caesar proceeded to burn the treaty, without ever looking at it.

"If they're aren't under my control Brutus, then they are threat. There was a rumor that Xena was heading toward the Amazons. Any word on that?" Caesar asked Brutus.

Brutus paused for a moment. "Not that I'm aware of."

"Hmm . . . Well, her time will come. Thank you, Brutus. You are a loyal friend," Caesar said. He patted Brutus on the shoulder and left the senate.

Brutus continued to watch the treaty burn in the fire.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A lone pyre stands in the middle of the Amazon village. An Amazon approaches the pyre and sets it a fire. Amazons began to sing a song of wailing. They dance a dance of wailing. They are honoring their Queen.

Xena and Gabrielle stand in front of the burning pyre. Gabrielle is holding the mask of the Queen. Her mask. The mask that Melosa wore . . . the mask that Ephiny wore . . .

Chilapa approached Gabrielle. "Are you sure about this?"

"Chilapa, you would make a better Queen than me," a proud Gabrielle said. She handed the Chilapa the mask.

"But you have wisdom that I don't," Chilapa interjected. She took the mask, ready to assume her new role in the Amazon Nation.

"There is a trick to that. Think of what Ephiny would do," Gabrielle said.

Chilapa turned to face Ephiny's pyre. She gave a little smile. Ephiny would have done the same thing.

Xena and Gabrielle continued to stare at the pyre, both remaining silent and deep in thought. "It's so unreal, Xena. I don't know why I don't just cry," Gabrielle said.

Xena turned to look at Gabrielle. "Maybe because you're trying to hard. Or maybe a part of you realizes that Ephiny's death wasn't in vain. She made a difference with her life and in her death, she became symbol. One way or another, the Amazons will continue to go on."

"So, when do we leave," Amarice asked.

"I thought you staying with the tribe," Xena asked.

"I decided it wasn't for me. Besides, they treat me like a kid," Amarice said.

"You are a kid," smirked Gabrielle.

"Right, and you're a warrior," Amarice sarcastically said.

"I thought about what you said Xena, about not finding answers at the end of sword and it seemed to make sense. Then I thought about ole' Pompey. Seems to me like he found an answer at the end of yours," joked Amarice.

"Amarice, did you not find any philosophy behind those words," asked Gabrielle.

"Yeah. Kick butt and take names later," laughed Amarice.

Gabrielle looked to Xena in disbelief. "It'll take time," mused Xena.

"So, where we headed?" Amarice asked.

"That way," Xena said.

"Great. That's where I thought we should go," Amarice said.

"Trouble . . . ," Xena said. She turned to Gabrielle, "so you ready . . .?"

Gabrielle walked towards Ephiny's pyre. Xena followed behind. Gabrielle quietly started to accept Ephiny's death. She finally started to cry. Xena comforted her friend. Xena too, was accepting Ephiny's death.

The End

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Author's note: The final scenes of the story are almost word for word from what happened in "Endgame." I can't take credit for it. That goes to the writers of X:WP. Besides, it was a lot easier than coming up with my own ending.

Disclaimer: Death is almost never permanent in the Xenaverse, but sorry to say, good ole' Pompey the Magnus literally lost his head in the process of writing this fan fiction.